The sale of Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKR for $1.62 billion was officially completed Monday. The sale comes after a long and arduous journey that began in 2020 when it was offered to its rival Penguin Random House for $2.18 billion, but the sale was blocked by the Biden administration, who cited antitrust reasons.
Then, in August earlier this year, Simon & Schuster’s owner Paramount agreed to sell the publishing house to KKR. Since the announcement, the publishing house’s execs have played up the potential benefits of KKR ownership, mentioning things like a profit-sharing model that KKR plans to introduce as future boons for Simon & Schuster employees.
There are those who have their doubts, though. For one, the fast results a private equity firm like KKR may expect are antithetical to the book publishing industry. Secondly, there are concerns surrounding the ethicality of KKR, which has been involved in the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us and a crisis in a living facility.
Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.